It’s the mother of all scheduling conflicts.
You head to work and while you're out hustling, your kid does something amazing. For the first time. Literally something they will never do again, in that same way, and you've missed it.
It happened to me. It’s probably happened to you. This weekend, it happened to Serena Williams. The G.O.A.T. The one and only.
While Serena was out practicing for Wimbeldon, one of her biggest tournaments since becoming a mother, her 10-month-old daughter Olympia decided to put her best foot forward.
“She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried,” Williams tweeted.
And the Momternet showed up for her. (Seriously, if you want to feel good about life, read the response tweets. Sometimes the Internet can be a beautiful thing.)
“Ah Serena. I’m with you there. I’m in Russia at a World Cup. I watched mine take her first steps on a video she’ll be proud of you when she goes [sic] up (I have to keep telling myself),” tweeted Alison Bender in solidarity. (Bender is a soccer correspondent and is in Moscow for the games. )
“She is practicing so you can see the real ones,” Chrissy Teigen chimed in.
My daughter Satya rolled over for the first time when I was at the Today show for work. Since then, I’ve missed more milestones that I can count, so I’ve just stopped counting. I went back to work when she was just six months old—a generous maternity leave policy by American standards and I knew that. But she was just a little nugget when I headed back to my job as a newspaper editor and the hours were long and the schedule was demanding. I missed her first steps and her first solid foods, a Halloween parade and endless spirit days. And I’m not even counting the stuff I forgot: crazy hair day, pajama day, soccer jersey day.
When I dropped her off to daycare as a baby—even when I thought she was too young to really understand—I would say a version of the same thing I tell her now that she’s a wise four-year-old: “Mama is going to work. I love you. I love my job. And we’ll talk about our days when I get home.”
Sure, there are days the sting is worse than others. Recently Satya drew a family picture at school, but there were only two people in it, Satya and my husband Agan. “The mama is at work,” she assured her teacher. (She’s not wrong. I work a lot. And most days, I love it.) In her spare time, Satya plays office. She has a laptop, cellphone and money machine set-up that includes a Hello Kitty mirror, a broken Motorola Razr, a jeweled calculator and a vintage children’s cash register. She holds the phone to her ear, ferociously taps at the calculator and makes loud sighing noises. A few weeks ago, she seemed pretty stressed out so I asked her what was going on. “Don’t talk to me because I’m very busy,” she said, clearly annoyed. I pressed on, asking what she was so busy with.“Work! Just like you!”